Nigeria’s 2017 digital switch over date irreversible, says minister

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria’s Federal Government has restated its commitment to meeting the digital switch over date of June 2017 in line with the directive of global telecoms body, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to its member countries. Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who gave the commitment to the Vice President, StarTimes Group of China, Ms. Zhao Yueqin, said the support of the Chinese government in this respect is important as failure to achieve the transition will lead to signal interference.

Ms. Yueqin led a delegation that paid a courtesy visit to the minister in Abuja.

Ms. Zhao had, in her remarks, expressed Chinese government’s willingness to assist Nigeria to realise the analogue switch off, adding that China will ensure that every household in Nigeria has access to digital television signals.

Mohammed assured that the country will meet the 2017 analogue switch off deadline in order to protect broadcast signals from interference and also to unlock the creative potentials of Nigerians in technology and content development.

According to him, the process of digitalization is unstoppable and irreversible, arguing that it is also not a matter of choice as failure to meet the June 2017 global target would lead to telephones, televisions and radios not being insulated from interference.

The minister said: “As a matter of fact, planet earth today does not know the extent of the dividends of digitalization and how far it will go.

“Digitalization is going to affect the way we perceive and understand broadcasting. It will act as a catalyst to unleash the creative potentials of our youths. It will also provide the panacea to piracy. It will create so much possibility that will enable Africa leapfrog and join the next generation of technology.”

Mohammed said the Ministry will take a cue from what the Chinese authority did in the area of discipline and re-orientation because the economic boom and development experienced in China was as a result of the discipline of her citizens, patriotism and dedication.

He said: “This ministry is going to start a campaign very soon to promote national rebirth and value re-orientation, because unless we change our ways and we are able to bring back discipline, integrity and values, the change we are talking about will not take place.”

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